MANILA - President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Friday said he hopes that within a year or two, the government will be back on track in terms of modernizing the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
In a media interview at the Fort Andres Bonifacio in Taguig City, Marcos said there was delay in the schedule of the modernization program because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marcos told the AFP chief of staff and its commanders to catch up with the schedule, especially in terms of acquiring modern equipment, as the government has to address some present dangers.
“There are several phases to it. We are pretty much coming to the end of first phase. We will then move on to the next schedule that we have agreed upon, especially for our supply, where we will acquire the equipment,” he said.
“Now we are proceeding back to our established schedule. Hopefully we will catch up and maybe in a year or two we are going to be back to where we are supposed to be at that time before the pandemic,” he added.
Marcos was at Fort Bonifacio on Friday as the guest of honor at the graduation ceremony of Officer Candidate Course of the Philippine Army. He led the distribution of diplomas to 106 graduates from “Gaigmat” Class 58-2023 and the giving of awards to five outstanding individuals.
In his speech, Marcos assured the graduates that his administration will remain committed to the continued modernization of the AFP, as well as the retooling and retraining of its soldiers.
“Be assured, the government’s dedication to your advancement and welfare goes beyond providing modern equipment alone. We continue to prioritize retooling and retraining to arm you with intellectual fortitude, with tactical prowess and strategic acumen to thrive in the modern battlefield,” he said.
“I invite you to join me and this administration in building a better, safer, and more secure nation for all Filipinos in the years to come.”
As the graduates ascend to the ranks of junior officers in the Philippine Army, the President advised them to “lead by example, command with respect, and execute with excellence as they confront the challenges ahead.”
“Let patriotism permeate every fiber of your being, empowering you to navigate the complexities of the field with heightened awareness and true mastery of your craft,” he said.
The Officer Candidate School (OCS) of the Philippine Army provides one full year of training in soldiery and leadership to officer candidates who want to be part of the Army, commissioning them as second lieutenant once they finished the course.